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Your Healthy Family: What you need to know before having sedation dentistry

Dr. Fred Guerra with Guerra Dental here in Colorado Springs says there are a few basic things we should all do before we undergo sedation dentistry. Dr. Fred Guerra with Guerra Dental here in Colorado Springs says there are a few basic things we should all do before we undergo sedation dentistry.
COLORADO SPRINGS -

You may have seen a story on Sunday night with Megyn Kelly in July about some of the dangers of sedation dentistry particularly when it comes to young kids. Dr. Fred Guerra with Guerra Dental here in Colorado Springs says there are a few basic things we should all do before we undergo sedation dentistry, beginning with asking questions before being sedated to have dentistry done.

Dr. Guerra says anyone who is apprehensive about getting their teeth worked on is a good candidate to consider sedation dentistry.  “There are different modes of sedation to consider.  Nitrous oxide is a method of sedation, used most commonly on young children, but it's very safe.  Sometimes it can be something simple, like behavior management to get the patient comfortable in the the office as a form of sedation.  Then you take it up the spectrum from nitrous, to oral sedation to I.V. sedation.  We even have patients that need to go into an operating room setting and have their dentistry done.”

Dr. Guerra adds that safe sedation depends on both the patient and the provider doing their homework ahead of the procedure.  “There some red flags for the providing team, and there are red flags for the patient to look out for.  The patient's red flags are they should be asking what type of sedation are we going to use, and what are your safety mechanisms for how how am I going to be monitored, and do we have procedures in place in case something goes wrong.  For the providers it's certainly being honest disclosing their health history and what type of medications they use, so the provider knows what medications can be safely given that are not going to put the patient in the danger zone.”

Here in Colorado, weather the dentist or oral surgeon uses a separate nurse anesthetist like Dr. Guerra prefers to in his office, or the dentist or oral surgeon manages the sedation or anesthesia themselves, the state has strict requirements in place for training and certification says Dr. Guerra.  “In our office we use a certified licensed clinical nurse anesthetist, and the benefits of that for me, is it allows me to focus solely on the dentistry the quality of the dentistry that I'm doing.  The nurse anesthetist solely monitors the safety of the patient.  Providers can do both and they continue to do both very safely.  There are many thousands of procedures that are done daily here in Colorado Springs the state of Colorado has very rigid monitoring requirements, and state requirements licensing requirements, to do it safely.”

Finally Dr. Guerra emphasizes it's not a red flag if the provider does the anesthesia themselves.  Your job as the patient is to make sure you’re asking those important questions ahead of time about what type of sedation will be used, how will you  be monitored, and what procedures are in place if something goes wrong. if you have any questions follow up with your dentist.

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